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Thread: Sources of Breathable Oxygen

  1. #1 Sources of Breathable Oxygen 
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    Hi,

    I'm trying to do some research for a personal project of mine, and I'd like to ask whether there are any sources of breathable oxygen (O2?) other than photosynthesis? I've been checking Wikipedia on the subject, but I also thought I'd ask here.

    Thanks,
    Jusael


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Naturally occurring? On earth? Unlikely - O<sub>2</sub> is frightfully reactive and would soon be leached from the atmosphere into oxides etc without the ocnstant replenishment caused by photosynthesis. At least, that's what I've always thought...


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  4. #3  
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    Thanks for the reply. I'll expand my question a bit: the source doesn't necessarily have to be located on Earth, and I'd also be interested in hearing about artificial methods for creating O<sub>2</sub> if such exist (and also under what conditions it might get created artificially).
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  5. #4  
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    Electrolysis of water gives H2 and O2
    ...Wait, what?
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  6. #5  
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    Electrolysis of water gives H2 and O2
    So could O<sub>2</sub> be created by electrolysing melted ice collected from space in an environment which has no present O<sub>2</sub>?
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  7. #6  
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    No oxygen is needed for the reaction. Also, some kind of salt should be added to the water to increase conductivity.
    ...Wait, what?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jusael
    Electrolysis of water gives H2 and O2
    So could O<sub>2</sub> be created by electrolysing melted ice collected from space in an environment which has no present O<sub>2</sub>?
    As Circularly Polarised pointed out, yes. But you would have to think of a mechanism for keeping the end products - H<sub>2</sub> and O<sub>2</sub> - away from each other, otherwise you would have, literally, a very explosive atmosphere.
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  9. #8  
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    Okay, thanks. Are there likely to be any other methods to create O<sub>2</sub> besides photosynthesis and electrolysis of water?
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  10. #9  
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    Oxygen can be made from rocks, by pyrolysis. That is how future Moon or Mars bases would most likely have to get their breathing oxygen. Presumably either solar or nuclear energy would be the power source.

    About twenty years ago the engineering firm I work for had a project funded by the government to develop the technology, but it was cancelled. A few firms are still working on it. NASA has a bit about it.

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2..._moonrocks.htm
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